Serendipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread | Bob Marley Week!

Happy Monday, Everyone! This week’s 3 Chics features the incomparable Bob Marley

Bob Bob Marley was born Robert Nesta Marley on February 6, 1945, to 50-year old white quartermaster Captain Norval Marley of the British West Indian Regiment and an eighteen-year old black Jamaican woman, Cedella Malcolm. Bob’s early life was spent in rural community of Nine Miles, nestled in the mountainous terrain of the parish of St. Ann. Residents of Nine Miles have preserved many customs derived from their African ancestry especially the art of storytelling as a means of sharing the past and time-tested traditions that are oftentimes overlooked in official historical sources. The proverbs, fables and various chores associated with rural life that were inherent to Bob’s childhood would provide a deeper cultural context and an aura of mysticism to his adult songwriting.

Norval and Cedella married in 1945 but Captain Marley’s family strongly disapproved of their union; although the elder Marley provided financial support, the last time Bob Marley saw his father was when he was five years old; at that time, Norval took his son to Kingston to live with his nephew, a businessman, and to attend school. Eighteen months later Cedella learned that Bob wasn’t going to school and was living with an elderly couple. Alarmed, she went to Kingston, found Bob and brought him home to Nine Miles.

Bob Marley begins his music career

The next chapter in the Bob Marley biography commenced in the late 1950s when Bob, barely into his teens, left St. Ann and returned to Jamaica’s capital. He eventually settled in the western Kingston vicinity of Trench Town, so named because it was built over a sewage trench. A low-income community comprised of squatter-settlements and government yards developments that housed a minimum of four families, Bob Marley quickly learned to defend himself against Trench Town’s rude boys and bad men. Bob’s formidable street-fighting skills earned him the respectful nickname Tuff Gong.

Despite the poverty, despair and various unsavory activities that sustained some ghetto dwellers, Trench Town was also a culturally rich community where Bob Marley’s abundant musical talents were nurtured. A lifelong source of inspiration, Bob immortalized Trench Town in his songs “No Woman No Cry” (1974), “Trench Town Rock” (1975) and “Trench Town”, the latter released posthumously in 1983.

“No Woman No Cry” 1979

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101 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread | Bob Marley Week!

  1. Ametia says:

    Ya know wha? I’m getting mighty damn sick of folks *looking@youJonathancapehart* who want the POTUS to give a “full-throated” thumbs up to same sex marriage.

    Didn’t he say he supported couples having the same rights as heterosexual marriage. The ceremony is a religious choice. He’s entitled to his religious beliefs just like you folks.

    The legal rights that accompany it, is something entirely different. So go scream at your church and pastors if they don’t condone same sex marriage not the POTUS!

  2. rikyrah says:

    Romney: Obama Will Promise ‘Free Stuff’ To Win Students

    In Ohio Monday, Mitt Romney said that students are “pulling back” from President Obama and predicted that Obama will try to win students by promising “a lot of free stuff,” reports ABC News.

    Romney said that the answer to financing higher education “is not to say, ‘Let’s have the federal government give unlimited loans, no interest to everybody who wants them.’”

    “By the way, you’re going to hear that,” Romney said. “In an effort to try to get them engaged, he’s going to promise to give a lot of free stuff to them. And to say, ‘I’ll pay for your education,’ or ‘I’ll get rid of the loans.’”

    Romney suggested he would try to lower tuition costs by increasing competition between universities. Romney has said he supports an extension of the subsidized government student loan program currently pending in Congress.

  3. rikyrah says:

    I love the rapid response from the Obama Campaign.



    Mon May 07, 2012 at 01:15 PM PDT.

    Obama campaign responds to Mitt Romney’s silence on treason allegation

    Statement from Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith on Mitt Romney failing to repudiate accusation of treason against President Obama and his campaign surrogate’s attack on travel by President and Mrs. Obama.

    Today we saw Mitt Romney’s version of leadership: standing by silently as his chief surrogate attacked the President’s family at the event and another supporter alleged that the President should be tried for treason. Time after time in this campaign, Mitt Romney has had the opportunity to show that he has the fortitude to stand up to hateful and over-the-line rhetoric and time after time, he has failed to do so. If this is the ‘leadership’ he has shown on the campaign trail, what can the American people expect of him as commander-in-chief?

  4. rikyrah says:

    Mon May 07, 2012 at 09:56 AM PDT.

    Paul Ryan: Government programs that help women are ‘creepy’ and ‘demeaning’ +*

    Mitt Romney surrogate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is criticizing the “Julia” interactive infographic released by the Obama campaign last week. The infographic shows how policies created and supported by President Obama’s administration help women, cradle to grave. Ryan thinks the whole idea of government services is “creepy” and “demeaning.”

    “It suggests that this woman can’t go anywhere in life without Barack Obama’s government-centered society. It’s kind of demeaning to her,” Ryan said. “She must have him and his big government to depend on to go anywhere in life. It doesn’t say much about his faith in Julia.”
    Because there’s nothing demeaning about going hungry and being unable to provide health care or education for your kids, Romney’s and Ryan’s preferred path for “Julia.” That “government-centered” society giving Ryan the creeps includes Head Start, public education, Pell Grants, health insurance, fair pay, access to birth control, prenatal care, small business loans and tax cuts, Medicare, and Social Security.
    This part is good, too.

    “Every one of those slides, I could go after their manipulation of statistics, and disentangle and unpack each of those talking points,” said Ryan. “It’s just the narrative that they’re trying to tell, that for this woman to succeed, she has to have a really big government.”
    That coming from the flim-flam budgeter who insists that massive tax cuts for the wealthy will be revenue neutral (we still don’t know what loopholes he would close) and that the Pentagon can be wallowing in funds. This is the Very Serious guy who seems to think tax cuts are the unicorn poop fertilizer for prosperity for the nation. .

  5. rikyrah says:

    The real voter registration numbers
    By Clo Ewing, Director of Constituency Press on May 7, 2012

    The Washington Post recently published a story (“Voter registration down among Hispanics, blacks” May 4th, 2012) that inaccurately claimed that the number of African American and Hispanic registered voters has fallen sharply since 2008; it has not.

    One of the most important successes of the historic 2008 campaign was the Obama-Biden ticket’s ability to expand the electorate—not just with first-time voters, but with eligible voters who for the first time felt they were being heard. Just as they are this time around, the President and Vice President ran four years ago on the belief that we are greater together, and that the more voices there are in the political process, the better we are. After all, the right to vote and choose our leaders is at the heart of what it means to be an American.

    In 2008 we saw participation increase across the board—more young voters, more older voters, more black voters, more Hispanic voters, more white voters. And they realize that voting once isn’t enough; to bring about real and lasting change, we need to stay involved throughout 2012 and vote in November.

    The supporters who make this grassroots campaign what it is understand that principle. Unfortunately, sometimes the media does not.

    The analysis on which the Post based its mistaken claim is fundamentally flawed in several ways. Let’s look at a few of them:

    First, the Census data the article cited is 18 months old—it’s from November 2010, the month of the last midterm elections.Since that time, more than 1.4 million African Americans and more than 1.2 million Latinos have registered to vote.

    Second, it’s misleading to compare May 2012’s voter rolls to November 2010’s, since one refers to a national election for which registration has far from closed, and the other is not. A fair apples-to-apples comparison would look at the same point in a similar election cycle. So let’s do what the Post didn’t: when you compare the number of Latino and African American voters in November 2010 to those in November 2006, or compare the rolls in May 2012 to May 2008, it’s clear that the number goes up, not down, in each case. For example, the Post article claimed that in Florida, the largest battleground state, the number of Latino registrants decreased by 10 percent from Election Day 2008 and Election Day 2010; in reality, it increased by 5 percent. That’s a mistake 15 percentage points wide.

    Third, registration among Latinos and African Americans has never been higher. There are more Americans of both backgrounds registered to vote today than there were when President Obama was elected.

    Republicans who wish The Washington Post’s registration count is accurate will be disappointed by these facts. Registration numbers are rising in spite of GOP legislatures and governors in more than half of the states who have put up onerous hurdles that make it harder for Americans to vote—with the excuse that they’re solving a non-existent epidemic of voter fraud.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s cowardice keeps getting in the way
    By Steve Benen – Mon May 7, 2012 3:25 PM EDT.

    Four years ago, shortly before the presidential campaign, John McCain was participating in a town-hall forum, and heard from a voter who wanted to share a concern. “I can’t trust Obama,” she said. “I have read about him and he’s not, he’s not uh, he’s an Arab.”

    The Republican nominee, to his credit, took back the microphone and said, “No, ma’am. He’s a decent family man [and] a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that’s what this campaign’s all about. He’s not [an Arab].”

    Mitt Romney in 2012 is a very different kind of candidate, and we were reminded of that this afternoon.

    For those who can’t watch clips online, the presumptive Republican nominee held an event in Ohio today, and heard from a woman who thinks President Obama “should be tried for treason.”

    It was an opportunity for the former governor to show some leadership — as McCain did in October 2008 — and reject this garbage publicly. But true to form, Romney responded to the voter’s question as if he didn’t have a problem with her ridiculous rhetoric.

    Later, after the Q&A was over, Romney was pressed by reporters on whether he agreed with his supporter’s “treason” line. He said, “No, of course not.”

    That’s nice, I suppose, but having courage after the fact isn’t the quite the same thing as showing some guts when the moment calls for it.

    It’s not the first time Romney shrank when confronted with an opportunity to lead, and I have a strong suspicion it won’t be the last.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Mon May 07, 2012 at 07:43 AM PDT.

    Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS says ads against Elizabeth Warren, Tim Kaine aren’t political+*

    Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS is claiming that this ad attacking Elizabeth Warren, and similar ads aimed at other Democratic candidates, is issue advocacy rather than spending in opposition to the Democrats the ads name. And the future of Crossroads GPS may hang on whether the IRS decides to accept that claim.
    In order to keep its donors secret, Crossroads GPS needs to qualify as a 501(c)(4) organization. In order to qualify as a 501(c)(4), it needs to spend its money not on electoral politics but on promoting social welfare. The question is whether the IRS will accept Crossroads GPS’s claims and categorize the many ads attacking various Democratic candidates on which the group has spent millions of dollars as issue advocacy. By Federal Elections Commission standards, that’s correct—the FEC only categorizes something as an elections expenditure if it directly tells people to vote for or against a candidate. The IRS, though, is supposed to adhere to a different standard, one that might see such ads as election spending.

    The [group’s] acknowledged political activity adds up to 26 percent of its total budget in both years. The “advocacy” ads total 42 percent. So if the IRS concludes that the advocacy ads are really political campaign ads, then Crossroads GPS would not qualify for (c)(4) status. And that’s even if the under-50-percent standard for political spending is being used; some reformers argue that anything more than 5 or 10 percent — should be disqualifying for a (c)(4).
    If a group acts like a (c)(4) — for instance, by not disclosing its donors — but then gets its status denied or revoked, tax experts say the consequences can be severe, including fines of up to 70 percent of the money they raised and spent in secret. The groups might even have to make donors’ names public after all.

    The FEC definition obviously defies common sense, as so many of these things do. The question is whether the IRS will chart a new course, one that forces at least a little more transparency into political spending. .

  8. rikyrah says:

    Obama Camp Launches $25 Million Ad Blitz
    Benjy Sarlin May 7, 2012, 11:37 AM

    President Obama’s campaign spent the Republican primaries quietly amassing a war chest of over $100 million while his rivals dominated the airwaves in swing states around the country. But they’re done watching from the sidelines.

    The president’s re-election team is out with a new ad, “Go,” running in nine swing states, as part of a whopping $25 million ad buy this month. To put the amount in perspective, Romney finished March with only $10 million cash on hand.

    The ad, which focuses on how the economy has improved from the initial 2008 crisis that Obama inherited, is part of an aggressive effort from the president to remind voters of the dire circumstances the president faced in January 2009. The hope is that by putting his achievements in that context, Obama can overcome Romney’s message to voters still hurting among weak job growth that the White House has fallen short of its goals.

    “The president has faced a combination of crises few others have ever had to deal with, all at the same time,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in a conference call with reporters Monday. “Starting on Day One, he’s made bold and brave decisions to hep our economy get back on its feet and bring our troops back.”

    Messina said the ad “echoes the message the president delivered to the people this weekend: We have a very simple choice between going forward and going back.”

    Campaign officials warned that they expect a flood of negative advertising from unlimited-money Super PACs supportive of Romney, who played a crucial role in the Republican primary as a handful of ultra-wealthy donors dominated TV and radio with attack ads. Democratic groups, particularly former Obama spokesman Bill Burton’s Priorities USA, have struggled to raise money from big name Democratic donors, while Republican groups connected to Karl Rove believe they’re on pace to raise $300 million by November. Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod referred to Super PACs as “Koch brothers contract killers” and said that rebutting their attacks directly would be a top priority.

  9. rikyrah says:

    May 07, 2012 12:53 PM

    Obama’s Personal Favorability “Cushion”

    By Ed Kilgore

    There are a couple of big polls (one the Battleground Poll sponsored by Politico and George Washington University, the other, which only covers 12 “swing states,” from Gallup/USA Today) out today showing the presidential contest as a dead heat. Romney’s gains from previous polls by these outfits are mostly predictable, and reflect the consolidation of Republican voters behind their “presumptive nominee.”

    There’s one wrinkle in the Battleground Poll that bears a bit more scrutiny, however: Obama’s unusually high “personal favorability” ratings (70% approve of him “as a person,” 56% strongly). These numbers are probably higher than in similar “favorability” measurements precisely because the poll explicitly dissociates the sentiment from job approval and thus may elicit positive feelings; Romney scores a pretty impressive 56% “favorable” in the same poll, though only 29% approve of him “strongly.”

    So what’s the relationship between personal favoriability, job approval, and voting preferences? Last August Reid Wilson of National Journal explored this question at a time when Obama’s job approval rating looked to be cratering, and came up with a pretty persuasive answer:

    Favorability ratings generally represent a ceiling, above which job-approval ratings do not rise. And poor job-approval ratings, over the long term, can prove a drag on an incumbent’s favorability ratings. A short-term drop in approval ratings doesn’t portend a corresponding drop in personal favorability—but when favorable numbers begin to descend, it’s an ominous sign for anyone planning to run for another term.

    Wilson contrasts Bill Clinton in his first term with George W. Bush in his second:

    [I]n 1994, Clinton’s approval rating dropped to a low of 38 percent, as measured by the Pew Research Center. Clinton endured a period, from March 1994 to October 1995, during which his approval rating hit 50 percent only once. And yet, during that same period, his favorability rating stayed strong, starting around 58 percent and ending, after only a single dip below the 50 percent mark, at 56 percent in January 1996. Beginning with that January poll, Clinton’s approval rating rebounded; by November, when he asked voters for a second term, his job-approval rate stood at 57 percent….

    A string of bad news and federal government failures—starting with Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the spiraling chaos of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and political problems in Washington—sent George W. Bush’s job-performance rating plummeting. His performance rating hit 50 percent in January 2005, just after he was reelected, and never reached the halfway mark again. The number of Americans who disapproved of his performance hit 52 percent in early September 2005, just after Katrina; it didn’t fall below 52 percent for the rest of his tenure.
    Americans began to view Bush as personally unfavorable at about the same time. A July 2005 Pew survey showed 51 percent of Americans had a favorable impression of the president. By late October, that number had sunk to 46 percent, then stayed in the high 30s for most of the rest of his term. Voters had had enough; Bush’s job-approval rating led the way down, and once the favorable ratings followed, there was no way to recover politically.

    So by either example, the fact that Obama’s personal favorability is holding up so well six months from election day is a positive sign for him—an indication, as Wilson puts it, that swing voters “are rooting for him to succeed.” It certainly suggests that the door is open for him to make a case not only that he’s done a better job than undecided voters might initially think, but that his policies offer a better path forward than those of Mitt Romney, particularly after a highly polarizing general election campaign that tends to make it clear it’s a real, and stark, choice.

  10. rikyrah says:

    When Republicans close off every avenue
    By Steve Benen – Mon May 7, 2012 2:30 PM EDT.

    In the broadest possible sense, Washington has two main choices to spur economic growth during tough times. Policymakers can rely on Congress and the White House to approve fiscal stimulus that injects capital into the economy, or they can rely on the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy. Though actions can vary based on circumstances — not all recessions are the same — the left generally prefers the former, while the right prefers the latter.

    In the Obama era, Republicans oppose both.

    We know the GOP is willing to fight tooth and nail to reject any efforts at public investment to create jobs and spur economic growth. What’s less known is that Republicans are equally disgusted by the idea of Fed intervention to improve economic conditions.

    This isn’t necessarily new. Last year, Senate Republicans killed Peter Diamond’s nomination to fill a Fed vacancy because he’s only the recipient a Nobel Prize in economics and an expert in unemployment. As Matt Yglesias explained this morning, GOP efforts to make expansionary monetary policy impossible are only getting worse.

    The good news is that there are two open seats on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the Board members get automatic seats on the Open Market Committee. So in principle by filling those seats with two people who are equally committed to monetary expansion as Bernanke — or even better, people who are more committed — the White House and the Senate could provide a powerful boost to economic growth.

    But Senator David Vitter (R-Louisiana) doesn’t want that to happen, and has placed a hold on Obama’s two nominees saying: “I refuse to provide Chairman Bernanke with two more rubber stamps who approve of the Fed’s activist policies.”

    Vitter, in other words, like the jobless rates right where it is or perhaps wishes it were even lower.

    For those who suspect congressional Republicans are deliberately trying to drag down the economy in the hopes of undermining the Obama presidency, the GOP’s actions with regard to monetary policy offer powerful evidence.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Why Obama Is Running On The Auto Rescue

    Benjy Sarlin May 7, 2012, 1:12 PM

    President Obama, who is touting the auto bailout at every turn in his campaign debut this week, got some more good news from Detroit on Monday with the release of the new Fortune 500 list. At No. 5 on the annual ranking of America’s largest companies: General Motors.

    While the job market and overall growth are still weak, GM and the auto industry have proved a rare bright spot. And the Obama campaign is putting its success front and center.

    “Together, we’re fighting our way back,” Obama said at a campaign kickoff rally in Virginia on Saturday. “When some wanted to let Detroit go bankrupt, we made a bet on American workers, on the ingenuity of American companies. And today, our auto industry is back on top of the world.”

    Supporters greeted the latest news with similar enthusiasm: “GM now ranks 5th in the Fortune 500 list,” Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, tweeted. “President Obama, thank you for believing in American manufacturing.”

    There are several reasons the auto rescue is getting such disproportionate attention versus other, arguably more crucial measures, like the stimulus and the president’s use of President Bush’s TARP funding to stabilize the financial system. Some of them are obvious: TARP is unpopular, and the money went to the Wall Street interests Obama routinely decries in speeches, and the stimulus has also become politically toxic after years of Republican attacks.

    But the most important aspect of the auto bailout is that it takes voters back to the days of late 2008 and 2009, when the economy was in an actual touch-and-go crisis — not just a period of sluggish growth. There’s simply no way to discuss it without invoking the worst of the recession and financial collapse that Obama inherited. And reminding voters of that collapse is priority one, two and three right now, with a huge chunk of Obama’s new $25 million ad buy emphasizing the conditions the president inherited at his swearing-in.

    It also puts Romney in a tough spot, who has had difficulty articulating his take on the auto bailout with any coherancy. Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom drew a round of mockery from Democrats after saying that the White House simply followed Romney’s advice in putting car companies through a managed bankruptcy, a claim that sidesteps Romney’s refusal to endorse the billions of dollars in government loans that made that bankruptcy possible without destroying the companies in the process.

    On offense, the bailout thus offers up another important opportunity to promote the Obama camp’s messaging on Romney: it touches on their attacks on his Bain Capital days, which they say resulted in too many layoffs in order to benefit wealthier investors. The Obama campaign, not surprisingly, are attacking Romney ahead of his trip to Ohio on Monday, one of the states most affected by the auto industry.

    “Mitt Romney’s decision to hold an event today at a GM supplier in Ohio highlights how, if he’d had his way, the American auto industry and the more than a million jobs it supports would cease to exist today,” campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said in a statement. “GM and Chrysler are in existence, creating jobs, and posting some of their most profitable quarters in history because President Obama bet on American workers. The real question is whether Mitt Romney — at his economy-focused event today — will explain to Ohioans why he opposed saving an industry that is responsible for one out of eight jobs in their state.”

  12. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    May 07, 2012 2:35 PM

    By Ed Kilgore

    In a fine rant for TAP about Mitt Romney’s relative success in convincing people that his private-sector experience will make him a “Mr. Fix-It” for the U.S. economy, Paul Waldman hits on a pretty important point:

    Romney does have a lengthy economic plan, but it amounts to the same thing Republicans always advocate: tax cuts, particularly on the wealthy; spending cuts in domestic programs; eliminating regulations; free trade; undermining labor unions, and so on. The closest thing to an innovative idea is the creation of a “Reagan Economic Zone,” which presumably will create wealth through the repeated incantation of the great one’s name.

    Which is just the point: if Mitt Romney’s experience in private equity gives him such unique understanding of the economy, why is what he proposes exactly what you’d hear from any Republican who spent his working life in government? It’s partly because Romney is a Republican, and things like tax cuts and reductions in regulation are just what Republicans believe. But maybe it’s also because when it comes to the things government can do to affect the economy, being a businessman doesn’t give you such special insight after all.

    Waldman made a similar argument back in 2010 when California was being bombarded with ads from Carly Fiorina and (especially) Meg Whitman touting their business experience as being their top credentials for statewide office.

    Ultimately, such “I know the economy” claims usually come down to little more than a personal character reference: I’ve succeeded in one area of life, and so you should trust me to succeed in another. As Waldman notes, you can undermine such claims in different ways:

    [You can] comb through Romney’s career and figure out what combination of attacks will create a negative association in the public’s mind when the words “Romney” and “business” are mentioned together. Maybe the key will be his personal wealth and hilarious habit of saying things that reinforce his distance from the struggles of ordinary people, or maybe it will be stories of layoffs at companies Bain Capital acquired, or maybe it will be some new story we haven’t yet heard of.

    But ultimately, the argument that corporate titans know more about government policies that might strengthen the economy than anyone else needs a direct hit. If, as appears to be the case with Romney, said titans are essentially arguing that there is no positive government role in the economy and that all his brilliance and experience will be brought to bear on the task of “getting government out of the way” as quickly as possible, why not just elevate a laptop to the presidency, running the best available destroy-the-government software available from conservative think tanks? Mitt’s detractors often mock him as a robot or a cyborg based on his peculiar personality and/or his apparent lack of inhibition about doing absolutely anything it takes to curry favor with today’s voters even if it contradicts what he was saying yesterday. But there’s a more basic point to be made that any fool, or any machine, can implement Romney’s economic platform. As I’ve noted earlier, if he gets a Republican-controlled Congress, a President Romney could whip through his agenda in less than 100 days.

    So perhaps Mitt should be asked as often as possible: what will you do as president to revive the economy that anyone with a copy of your platform—or the Ryan budget—could do? Aren’t your talents more suited to being a “job-creator” than a government-destroyer? Give us just one example of something you learned at Bain that the rest of us don’t know, that would create jobs, okay, Mitt?

    Don’t know if this sort of line of inquiry would turn votes, but it would sure get under his skin, or his case, or whatever it is that holds him together.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Entrepreneurial studies taking root at historically black colleges

    By J.D. Harrison, Published: April 27 | Updated: Monday, April 30, 7:30 AM

    The Washington Post Howard University’s School of Business has long offered courses in starting, running and managing a company. Many of its students have taken advantage of the school’s certificate program in entrepreneurship, while others have tapped the resources available through the department’s small business development center.

    But in recent years, faculty and administrators realized that business students were no longer the only ones who need to know how to run a business, nor were they the only ones actively seeking that type of training.

    “Our students have always been interested in entrepreneurship, but I feel like it really exploded over the last five years, and now it’s all over campus,” said Barron Harvey, dean of the School of Business at Howard, one of more than 120 historically black colleges and universities in the United States. “In particular, I think we are seeing more collaboration between different schools and departments on campus, where students in various fields of study want to learn how to be an entrepreneur. And it’s not just at Howard, I think that’s happening at schools like ours all across the country.”

    The business school now partners with Howard’s schools of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and divinity to offer dual degree programs for students who may eventually want to launch their own enterprises. Meanwhile, at the undergraduate level, the university has introduced an entrepreneurship minor available to students of any major, and in the past few years, the nursing program and the communications department have added formal entrepreneurship programs catering to their own students.

    Harvey is right, too – the pattern extends well beyond Howard. Driven by a shift in the career outlook of today’s youth and accelerated by an economic downturn that continues to hit minorities the hardest, historically black colleges and universities are turning to entrepreneurship programs to help them churn out not just the nation’s next generation of employees, but also produce many of its future employers.

    While the current economic decline has weighed heavily on all new graduates, government data suggest that black job candidates are having an even more difficult time finding work than their white counterparts. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2007, prior to the collapse, the unemployment rate among whites stood at 4.1 percent while the rate for blacks averaged 8.3 percent.

    Fast forward five years, and the gap has widened further. The most recent data show that 7.3 percent of whites (a 3.4 point increase) and 14.0 percent of blacks (a 5.7 percent increase) of blacks are now unemployed. Moreover, the recession drove the wealth gap between whites and minorities to its widest margin in a quarter century, according to a study by Pew Research.

    “Everybody who went to college the last four years isn’t going out and getting a job, because those jobs aren’t there anymore,” Julianne Malveaux, president of Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C., said during a recent White House summit on entrepreneurship at historically black and minority serving institutions. Bennett recently launched a summer entrepreneurship program for local high-school students, and in May, the school will graduate its first student with an entrepreneurship minor.

    Not far from Howard, Bowie State University has taken a different path to encouraging entrepreneurship, launching the Bowie Business Innovation Center in the fall of 2011. Housed at the business school, the non-profit incubator brings in start-ups that are subsequently encouraged to offer internships to students.

  14. ChristiMtl ‏ @ChristiMtl:

    A nutjob at the Romney’s townhall said that the President should be tried for treason. Romney didn’t address it and replied to her question

  15. rikyrah says:

    The politics of a Beastie Boy’s passing
    By Steve Benen – Mon May 7, 2012 1:15 PM EDT.

    As of this morning, the most popular item on the conservative Washington Times’ website was this piece from Joseph Curl, headlined, “Hip-hop legend MCA passes on; Obama says not a word” (thanks to reader R.P. for the tip).

    I’ve come to expect the right to after President Obama for just about everything, but I have to admit, I didn’t see this one coming.

    Adam Nathaniel Yauch, “MCA” from the Beastie Boys, died Friday, after a lengthy bout with cancer. He was just 47. The Washington Times piece expressed annoyance at Obama because the president didn’t mention MCA’s passing.

    H]alf-white Barack Obama (exactly my age) didn’t say a word, even though he was talking to college kids that day…. Funny the “coolest president ever” doesn’t say a word about the passing of MCA. Weird and kinda sad, actually. […]

    The president took time from his busy schedule to comment on the passing of black musicians. When Whitney Houston, a longtime crack addict, died this year, the White House put out a statement…. And when accused pedophile and drug addict Michael Jackson died in 2009, the White House weighed in with the president’s thoughts. […]

    Mr. Obama is said to have 2,000 songs on his iPod, but he’s never mentioned the Beastie Boys. Too bad. He could learn so much from them. Still can.

    So, let me get this straight: Obama’s lack of a reaction to MCA’s death is evidence of the president’s … racism? As far this newspaper columnist is concerned, the “half-white” president — why Obama’s racial diversity is relevant in that sentence is unclear — only cares about the deaths of African-American musicians?

    Dylan Byers, to his credit, noted, “[L]et’s get bent out of shape reminding him that the President doesn’t comment on the passing of every musician, nor is he expected to. Let’s also remind him that Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston — whose deaths, Curl notes, the President did mention — sold far more records (an estimated 750 million and 170 million, respectively, versus the Beastie Boys 20 million). Chill, Curl.”

    That’s good advice

  16. rikyrah says:

    What Are the Gobshites Saying These Days?
    By Charles P. Pierce at 12:31PM

    Welcome back to our semi-regular weekly survey of the state of Our National Discourse, which is what tubeworms would sound like, if they could speak. And let’s not even get into the whole Joe Biden thing just yet.

    We begin, as we always do, with the professional politicians, and with John McCain, 2008 presidential nominee and career gobshite of the political class. On Sunday, he gave the presumptive nominee of his party a little fatherly advice:

    “The absolute, most important aspect is, if something happened to him, would that person be well qualified to take that place?” said McCain. “I happen to believe that was the primary factor in my decision in 2008. And I know it will be Mitt’s.”


    Sorry, a little common sense got caught in my throat there.

    This is the man responsible for bringing to the national stage Princess Dumbass Of The Northwoods and her whole snow-macheening clan of grabitall omadhauns. If John McCain still believes that Sarah Palin was “well-qualified” to take his place as president of the United fking States (!), it’s really past time to go to the dogtrack with his name pinned to his sweater. Was he even there in 2008? Was he actually the candidate for the entire campaign, or did he just bag the whole business in August and go back to Sedona and let some body double play out the string? I’d like an offer of proof that this didn’t happen.

    But let us move along, if we must, to the gobshites of our chattering classes, who did not disappoint this weekend. Let us start with George Effing Will, who looks like your foul-tempered great-aunt with all the money dressed adjunct-professor drag. He seems all a’flutter that the president is actually campaigning for re-election….

    All that said, try to imagine Dwight Eisenhower talking about D-Day, saying, “I did this, I decided this, I did this and then I did that.” It’s inconceivable. If you struck from Barack Obama’s vocabulary the first person singular pronoun, he would fall silent, which would be a mercy to us and service to him, actually…

    Let us leave aside the easily verifiable fact that the president has made such a career out of talking about what “we” can do “as Americans” that he’s perennially annoyed people like, well, me. Let us also leave aside the fact that this is coming from one of the primary propagandists of the Reagan-Won-The-Cold-War school of policy analysis. (“If you seek his monument, look for what we don’t see. We don’t see the Berlin Wall. We don’t see ‘the iron curtain from Stetin to Trieste,” Will says in a PBS documentary on Reagan, which is pretty bold for a guy who, at the time Reagan actually was president, regularly ripped him as being played for a sap by Mikhail Gorbachev. The crafty Russki, Will apparently believed, was ensnaring Reagan in a clever trap that involved dismantling the Soviet empire.) Let us simply say that hearing George Effing Will accuse anyone of intellectual egoism is like hearing a lecture on modesty from Lady Gaga.

    As it happens, we have a George Effing Will two-fer this week. Later, on the nougat-and-caramel-thick cluster of fk that was This Week, he got started in on student loans. He spends some time, with the able assistance of purported journalist Jake Tapper, spreading some serious manure about student loans being a “new entitlement,” as though those college kids are being handed a whole bunch of free money to play beer pong and study Polynesian socialist poetry. It doesn’t take long, however, for the essential elitist fopdoodle to come shining through:

    Of the two-thirds of the people who graduate from college with debt, the average debt is something under $30,000 total. That is just about the one-year difference in earnings between a college graduate and a high school graduate. We’re talking about a pittance a month.

    Suck it up, underemployed graduate. Pay off your pittance and get to work at building your career as a snotty fussypants on network television. Still later, Will thundered in defense of usury, “Let’s not give interest-free loans to anyone,” thereby putting himself forever on the wrong side of the Second and Third Lateran Councils.

    Elsewhere, perennially nasty walking draft-exemption Liz Cheney went on Fox News Sunday to flirt coyly about running for the Senate in Wyoming. And by “flirt coyly,” I mean running the English language gracefully through a cheese grater.

    Look, I have been honored to have been asked to help support the Republican Party in Wyoming. As I said, it’s my home. It’s a very special place, but I’m really focused on defeating Barack Obama. We don’t have the luxury, frankly, of looking beyond this election because this election is so important.

    Is there truly no end to the involvement of this hideous family in our politics? Shouldn’t Liz be baking a cake with a file in it to send to Daddy’s cell at The Hague by now?

    Over at Dancin’ Dave’s place, Karl Rove’s old stepping partner wasn’t letting the vice-president off the hook for the fact that the economy is only now beginning to recover from the damage that Liz Cheney’s father and his old boss did to it over eight years….

    It was this administration that said you could keep 8% unemployment if you passed the stimulus act. You can’t go by those predictions.

    For the love of god, not this again. The stimulus wasn’t has effective as it should have been because the politics of getting it passed required that it be larded up with tax cuts, and the unemployment figures are staying stubbornly high because a lot of Republican governors have been laying off their workforces by a busload. Biden bopped Gregory around a little bit on this, and then talked about gay marriage, which has set folks to yapping today. But then, the dancing master brought things around to foreign policy and the domestic political utility of having shot Osama bin Laden in the eye.

    Read more:

  17. An hour before start time, empty seats at the Romney event

  18. Soledad O’Brien To Romney Press Secretary On Job Numbers: ‘I’m Going To Correct You On That If I Can’

    Mitt Romney‘s press secretary Andrea Saul stopped by CNN’s Starting Point on Monday, and took aim at President Obama‘s job creation numbers, which she claimed were in the red.

    “President Obama hasn’t created a net single new job,” Saul asserted. “And so we need someone that actually has the experience, has actually done these things, balanced budgets, instead of someone who is just offering up political gimmicks and trying to tear down his opponent instead of looking at the full part of his record.”

    “When you say hasn’t created net jobs, of course, you’re talking about there was so much jobless that even started to happen before the President came in,” O’Brien said. “They are rebuilding from that so I’m going to correct you on that if I can.”

    “Well, no, from the start when he started his presidency,” Saul contended. “I’m not counting from before he started. Since he started his presidency, he has not created any jobs. Not when you look at the full picture of the economy.”

    “Right, we are talking about the economic collapse, so you’re going down, right?” O’Brien continued. “And we’re talking about rebuilding so I think people could argue those have been jobs created as an economic collapse is trying to rebound…”

  19. rikyrah says:

    Nebraska and the Limits of Compromise
    By Charles P. Pierce at 12:45PM
    Two leftover bits from what turned out to be quite the productive trip to Nebraska.

    As I mentioned last week, the Republican senatorial primary has turned into an episode of Who’s The Wingiest Wingnut? State treasurer Don Stenberg, however, is not the embattled Richard Lugar. He’s been backed up with tough TV ads by a number of conservative front groups and he spent the weekend on the Nebraska leg of a national “values” bus tour sponsored by the Heritage Foundation and the Family Research Council.

    (It is also helpful to remember at moments like this that, as you can tell by its involvement in something like this, the Heritage Foundation is a serious data-based research organization, and not merely a talking-points sausage shop as it might appear to be to the rest of us. Thank you. We continue.)

    What the campaign has devolved into is attorney general Jon Bruning’s contention that he is more wingnutty than Stenberg because he looks younger, and because he has been in a position to sue the Obama adminstration over health-care and a bunch of other stuff. This is a measure of what the Republican party looks like out in the rest of the country. There are tackhammers with substantially greater ideological diversity.

    Which makes all of Democratic candidate Bob Kerrey’s commercials all the more curious. In them, Kerrey leans hard on his military record. (No mention of that unpleasant Thanh Phong business.) But he also states flatly that he will work with “people in both parties” to “get things done.” Since it looks as though, if he gets elected, Kerrey will be dealing with a Republican senate caucus for which Dick Lugar was too liberal, it is legitimate for us all to ask the senator, “Like who, exactly

    Read more:

  20. Ametia says:

    The Answer Isn’t Socialism; It’s Capitalism that Better Spreads the Benefits of the Productivity Revolution

    By Robert Reich

    Francois Hollande’s victory doesn’t and shouldn’t mean a movement toward socialism in Europe or elsewhere. Socialism isn’t the answer to the basic problem haunting all rich nations.

    The answer is to reform capitalism. The world’s productivity revolution is outpacing the political will of rich societies to fairly distribute its benefits. The result is widening inequality coupled with slow growth and stubbornly high unemployment.

    In the United States, almost all the gains from productivity growth have been going to the top 1 percent, and the percent of the working-age population with jobs is now lower than it’s been in more than thirty years (before the vast majority of women moved into paid work).

    Inequality is also growing in Europe, along with chronic joblessness. Europe is finding it can no longer afford generous safety nets to catch everyone who has fallen out of the working economy.

    Consumers in China are gaining ground but consumption continues to shrink as a share of China’s increasingly productive economy, while inequality in China is soaring. China’s wealthy elites are emulating the most conspicuous consumption of the rich in the West.

    At the heart of the productivity revolution are the computers, software, and the Internet that have found their way into the production of almost everything a modern economy creates. Factory workers are being replaced by computerized machine tools and robotics; office workers, by software applications; professionals, by ever more specialized apps; communications and transportation workers, by the Internet.

  21. rikyrah says:

    May/June 2012

    The Anchor

    Forget Rachel, Bill, Anderson, and Sean. The broadcaster who will most determine the 2012 elections is Jorge Ramos.

    By Laura M. Colarusso

    On January 25, a week before the Florida primary, Mitt Romney sat down for an interview with Univision, the nationwide Spanish-language television network that reaches 97 percent of Latino households. It was a risky move for Romney, who, in a bid for conservative support, had gone farther than any of his remaining Republican rivals in denouncing reforms that would help undocumented immigrants gain legal status. His positions put him sharply at odds with the vast majority of Univision’s audience, with the network’s own editorial line, and most definitely with the opinions of its star news anchor, Jorge Ramos.

    Yet there was Romney, opposite Ramos on a stage at Mi-ami Dade College, trying to convince Univision’s viewers, many of whom live in Florida, that he was all for immigration—so long as it was done the right way. The questioning was civil but point-ed at first. Then Ramos threw a curveball. The veteran broadcast-er wanted to know whether Romney felt that he was a Mexican American, since his father was born in Mexico. The question put Romney, whose great-grandfather had fled the United States to avoid arrest for practicing polygamy, in a supremely awkward po-sition. If he said yes, conservatives might think him even more suspect. But if he said no, he would lose one of the few oppor-tunities he had to connect with a vitally important audience. “I would love to be able to convince people of that, particularly in a Florida primary,” Romney responded. “But I think that might be disingenuous on my part.” It was probably the best answer he could have given, but it provided the mainstream press, which covered the interview, with yet another squirm-inducing anec-dote about the candidate. And it certainly didn’t help him with Latino voters.

    If the Univision interview illustrates the rough road Rom-ney has had to travel in his quest to become the GOP nominee, it also highlights what may be the biggest obstacle he’ll face in the general election: winning a significant share of the Latino vote. Hispanics are one of the fastest-growing minorities in the country, accounting for more than half of the total population growth over the last decade. (More than 50 million Hispanics now live in the United States—up from 35 million just ten years ago, according to census data.) In 2008, close to 10 million Hispanics voted—roughly 70 percent supported Barack Obama—and thus far their support for the president has not waned. More than 12 million Latinos are expected to vote this time around. Moreover, Hispanics are clustered in key swing states like Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, and Florida. Their influence could even put red states like Arizona into play in the presidential race, and might help determine control of Congress. In 2010, despite the Tea Party uprising that enabled Republicans to retake the House, Latinos helped the Democrats hang on to the Senate by propelling Harry Reid and Michael Bennet to victory in Nevada and Colorado, respectively.

    Connecting with Latinos is now a top priority for both parties, and Univision is the main conduit. No other net-work comes close to its scope. On any given night, Univision draws in about 65 percent of the viewers watching Spanish-language TV; the network’s nearest competitor, NBC-owned Telemundo, recently broke briefly into the low thirties. The network is the fifth largest in the country in terms of prime-time ratings and routinely beats the big four—ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox—on Friday nights and in certain markets like Los Angeles and New York. Its offerings include every-thing from soap operas to political talk shows to investiga-tive documentaries, all with a focus on the issues, themes, and personalities that are important to Hispanics. The com-pany has built a relationship with its viewers that few other media organizations could even hope to understand. “Based on our research, there are two institutions in the Latino im-migrant community that rank as highly trustworthy,” says Si-mon Rosenberg, president of the New Democratic Network, a think tank based in Washington, D.C. “They are the Catholic Church and Univision.”

    If Univision is the most important Spanish-language network, then Ramos is the biggest, most trusted on-air personality on Spanish-language TV. Often referred to as the Walter Cronkite of Hispanic news, he connects with viewers on a nightly basis. An immigrant from Mexico with olive skin, green eyes, and silver hair, he has interviewed every sitting president since George H. W. Bush and most of the major White House hopefuls during that time, with the exception of Bob Dole in 1996. Along the way he has won eight Emmys and written eleven books, including A Country for All: An Immigrant Manifesto. Ninety-three percent of Univision viewers have a favorable view of him.

  22. Ametia says:

    Virginia man accused of threatening to kill President Obama

    A Virginia man was arrested and charged this weekend from planning to assassinate President Barack Obama, according to the Associated Press.

    Christopher Hecker sent out an email to media outlets on April 19 planning to bomb the White House, Philadelphia City Hall, the former site of the World Trade Center, and other places. The FBI tracked the email to Hacker’s account and lead to the Secret Service exchanging emails with him, in which he revealed more plans to bomb locations.

    Secret Service agents arrested him after he signed onto a computer at the Waynesboro, Virginia Public Library.

    Hecker refused to be sworn during an appearance in a federal court in Charlottesville, Virginia on Friday, telling a judge that he wanted to be sentenced immediately and given the death penalty. The judge ordered Hecker to undergo a psychological evaluation.

  23. ThinkProgress ‏ @thinkprogress:

    House GOP proposes cutting $75 billion from programs “directly benefiting the poor” to avoid military budget cuts

  24. rikyrah says:

    A Fair View of Jimmy Carter
    by BooMan
    Mon May 7th, 2012 at 10:14:52 AM EST

    If you open up a can of worms, someone else might open up a can of whoopass:

    By contrast, the Obama ad’s brief rebuke of Romney is at least factual and accurate: Not only did he say what the ad quotes, but he also said that he wouldn’t go into Pakistan to get bin Laden, which is what the mission required. Had the president followed Romney’s policy recommendation, bin Laden would almost certainly still be at large.

    “Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order,” scoffed Romney in response. But he shouldn’t be so quick to denigrate the former Democratic president, who entered the Navy during World War II and then served as a submarine officer until his honorable discharge in 1953. Somebody may compare Carter’s service with Romney’s own military record, which doesn’t exist — and remind voters that he avoided the Vietnam draft with a pampered stint as a Mormon missionary, in France.

    I’d like to add something to this, just because I find it irritating. Mitt Romney decided to pick on Jimmy Carter in this instance as an example of someone who was weak on national security. This is wrong for at least three reasons. First, when Carter was faced with the Iranian Hostage Crisis, he authorized a rescue mission. That rescue mission was known as Operation Eagle Claw. It failed because of a sandstorm in Iran, and insufficient redundancy in the planning. It was wisely called off when too few helicopters remained operational to assure success. If Carter deserves any criticism beyond being a victim of bad luck, it’s that he didn’t personally intervene in the planning to assure there were more helicopters. But this is exactly what Obama did, and it may have been crucial to the success of the mission to get bin-Laden.

    Second, Jimmy Carter’s signature achievement in office was the Camp David Accords, which allowed Egypt and Israel to make a peace that has lasted to this day, and which formally brought Egypt out of the Soviet orbit and into our own. If that is weakness in foreign policy, then I guess making peace is weak and screwing the Soviets was weak.

    Third, rather than criticize Carter for timidity in foreign policy, he should more rightly be critiqued for recklessness. Here is a segment of a 1998 interview with Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski that discusses the Soviet War in Afghanistan.


    President Carter intentionally goaded the Soviets into invading Afghanistan and armed and trained and grew the numbers of the Islamic fundamentalists that turned on us and attacked us repeatedly leading up to the devastating 9/11 attacks. When Moscow invaded Afghanistan, Carter boycotted the Russian Olympics and cut off grain supplies. In reaction, the Soviets boycotted the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.

    Carter was unsuccessful in securing the release of the Iranian hostages, but that wasn’t entirely his fault. And, in any case, it has little bearing on Carter’s successes and failures in foreign policy.

  25. Media Matters :

    Reuters Editor: Criticism of Obama over Bin Laden Ad is a “Phony War”; it’s “absolutely … reasonable” to “brag about”

  26. rikyrah says:

    Quote For The Day

    “I’m not going to suggest in anyway a psychologist. That’s a decision a psychologist would have to tell ya and I’m not going to weigh in on that,” – Mitt Romney, on whether being gay is a personal “defect”.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:33 AM ET, 05/07/2012
    The House GOP’s big gamble
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    In for a dime, in for a dollar. Or, in this case, $260 billion. That’s the amount of spending cuts in a bill Paul Ryan and House Republicans are preparing today for floor action later this week. The bill is meant to avert the deep cuts in defense spending mandated by the failure of the deficit supercommittee. But more broadly, this is the continuation of a fascinating gamble.

    Here’s the story. If Congress doesn’t act, across-the-board cuts required by the supercommittee go into effect in January 2013 — cuts to both the Pentagon and domestic programs that both parties find unacceptable. There’s general agreement that the earliest Congress will agree on how to prevent those cuts will be in a lame duck session after the election. And yet what the two parties are doing about this fact couldn’t be more different.

    The Democrats, who prefer smaller cuts paired with tax increases on upper-income taxpayers, have been in no hurry at all to advance that agenda in actual legislative terms. Senate Dems, as Republicans will shout until they’re blue in the face, did not pass a budget resolution this year. House Democrats, too, are reported to be leaning against offering an alternative to this new GOPbill.

    By contrast, Republicans are holding vote after vote on their agenda — voting on unpopular measures that are the stuff of opposition researchers’ dreams, even though those bills are going nowhere. The measure they’ll be dealing with in later this week, if they stick to plans, slashes (among other things) “food stamps, funding for the 2010 healthcare and financial regulatory laws and the refundable child tax credit.”

    Republicans appear to be taking these votes in order to give their Members a chance to go on record in favor of deep spending cuts before the real negotiations between the parties on averting the supercommittee-mandated cuts start in earnest. The only votes Dems are taking are against GOP initiatives. That may seem cowardly, but it’s also quite sensible, since anything they propose isn’t going anywhere, and those future talks will decide what really happens.

    The real mystery is why Republicans are constantly voting on bills containing unpopular provisions (attacking the child tax credit???), especially since these votes are merely symbolic. It’s possible that it’s because they believe their own rhetoric and mistakenly believe voters will reward them for “courage.” It’s possible that inexperienced Members simply trust Ryan, and that he doesn’t think his agenda is unpopular. But whatever the motive, it’s hard to see what the House GOP is up to as anything other than a repeated unforced error that Democrats will likely exploit during the fall campaign.

  28. Ametia says:

    Teh face of criminals, schemers & theives or HARD-WORKING AMERICANS?

    Couple in Illinois Ponzi scheme caught in Arizona

    TONOPAH, Ariz. — Acting on a tip, U.S. marshals in Arizona put an end to an Illinois couple’s life on the lam, a dozen years after they fled punishment for running a Ponzi scheme that targeted friends, the elderly, and even family members, authorities said.

    As fugitives, Nelson Grant Hallahan, 65, and wife Janet Hallahan, 54, lived in several states in the Southwest and had used a number of aliases, the Marshals Service said Sunday.

    The two were arrested by deputy marshals Saturday afternoon in Tonopah, a desert community 50 miles west of Phoenix. Officials believe they hid in Arizona for the past couple years.

    “The 12-year run from justice of the Hallahans, also known as the ‘Mini Madoffs,’ has come to an end,” U.S. Marshal for Arizona David Gonzales said in a statement. “Their investment scams involving family, friends, and the elderly, ruined many lives.”

    The agency said it received a tip about their location after they were featured on “America’s Most Wanted” the previous night

  29. Romney rep Andrea Saul says President Obama is in over his head, says his term has hurt women

  30. Mitt Romney won’t let local media into his IN fundraiser.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Swiftboasters, The Next Generation
    By Steve Benen – Mon May 7, 2012 11:26 AM EDT.

    An outfit called Vets For a Strong America unveiled this video last week, attacking President Obama for his comments on killing Osama bin Laden, and it’s done quite well. But as attacks go, I’m not sure if this one’s on the right track.

    The point is pretty straightforward: the video, professionally made with high production values, wants the viewer to think Obama wants sole credit for the mission that killed the al Qaeda leader last year. The claim is demonstrably untrue, but the right doesn’t much care about such niceties.

    Vets For a Strong America’s Joel Arends, the founder and sole staffer at the “group,” freely admits, “Yes, it’s the swift boating of the president, in the sense of using what’s perceived to be his greatest strength and making it his greatest weakness.”

    I see. So, Obama’s “greatest weakness” was ordering the strike that killed bin Laden, keeping a campaign promise Mitt Romney criticized, and following through on a commitment George W. Bush chose to disregard.


    Dave Weigel’s not buying it: “[T]his is cheesy. The aesthetics evoke the ‘Army of One’ ads that play in front of movie trailers. The Swift Vets ads worked for reasons that can’t be recreated in the OBL capture story.”

    Quite right. The Swiftboat claims came from individual men who said, on camera, that John Kerry was lying about military heroism. Kerry was telling the truth and his accusers were lying, but again, in Republican politics that just doesn’t matter. The smear campaign offered “proof” that the Democratic war hero was not to be trusted.

    Vets For a Strong America’s lie is weaker, less compelling, and based on a premise that’s simply less important.


    Weigel added, “[T]he commander-in-chief isn’t stealing valor when he talks about a mission he ordered. That’s what ‘commander-in-chief’ means. The average American who fist-pumped at the OBL news had much less to do with the operation than Obama. I’d doubt he/she feels guilty and wants to take back the ‘USA!’ or the ‘wooooo!’ into the TV camera.”

    Or Jed Lewison put it, “[T]he best case scenario with the ad is that people who see it are convinced that Obama is a dick … but even if they are convinced he’s a dick, he’d still be the dick who killed bin Laden. And the last thing you want to do [if you’re a Republican] is talk about how President Obama killed bin Laden.”

    Regardless, Joel Arends’ one-person operation — the funding of which remains a mystery — isn’t done. Judd Legum and Adam Peck noted that Vets For a Strong America is trying to recruit Navy SEALS to condemn the president before the election.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Poll: Voters Prefer Obama Over Romney On Foreign Policy |

    A new Politico/George Washington University poll out today found that President Obama holds a double digit lead over presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney on the question of which candidate will better handle foreign policy. Fifty-one percent chose Obama, while 38 percent chose Romney. Politico notes that “[t]he poll was in the field during intensive coverage of the one-year anniversary of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.” Overall, the poll found Romney currently edging Obama in a head-to-head election match up with 48 percent of likely voters saying they’d pick Romney and 47 percent choosing to reelect Obama.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Moving the economic goalposts
    By Steve Benen – Mon May 7, 2012 10:40 AM EDT.

    When it came to economic metrics and the 2012 campaign, Mitt Romney has struggles to pick a line and stick with it.

    The initial line from Romney was that the unemployment rate is higher now than when President Obama took office. It was a foolish argument, which is no longer true.

    The second line has been that the unemployment rate has been above 8% for four consecutive years. That’s a weak pitch — in FDR’s first term, the rate was above 17% for four consecutive years, too — and with the figure down to 8.1%, Romney’s at risk of losing his talking point.

    So, it’s apparently time to move the goalposts once again.

    “[A]nything near 8 percent or over 4 percent is not cause for celebration,” Romney said…. Earlier Friday, Romney said the economy should be adding half a million jobs a month, and blasted the jobs news as “terrible.”

    “We should be seeing numbers in the [range of] 500,000 jobs created per month,” Romney told Fox News.

    Remember, economic policy is supposed to be Romney’s strong point as a candidate.

    Part of the problem here is with Romney’s wildly unrealistic benchmarks, which, if he’s elected, he’ll be unable to reach. Indeed, in the event of a Romney presidency, he just helped create the 2016 attack ads — 500,000 jobs per month and 4% unemployment is the new standard for success.

    But the other concern here is historical — over the last three decades, the unemployment rate has dipped below 4% just four times out of 496 months. Each of those four months was during Bill Clinton’s presidency.

    In other words, Romney’s goal was achieved, but only after a Democratic president raised taxes in 1993.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Monday, May 7, 2012If you want to know what Republicans would do – watch Congress (updated)
    This week the House will show us what a Republican government would do to those who are struggling in this economy.

    The Republicans who control the House are using cuts to food aid, health care and social services like Meals on Wheels to protect the Pentagon from a wave of budget cuts come January.

    The reductions, while controversial, are but a fraction of what Republicans called for in the broader, nonbinding budget plan they passed in March. Totaling a little more than $300 billion over a decade, the new cuts are aimed less at tackling $1 trillion-plus government deficits and more at preventing cuts to troop levels and military modernization.

    So in order to get rid of the Defense cuts THAT THEY AGREED TO as part of their contrived debt ceiling crisis, they want to cut food stamps, health care and things like Meals on Wheels.

    You will find no clearer contrast that identifies what this election is all about. Luckily we currently have a Democrat majority in the Senate and a Democratic President who will stop this kind of nonsense.

    But they’re likely just a sample of what’s in store next year from Republicans if Mitt Romney wins the White House and the GOP takes back the Senate. Romney promises much tougher cuts to domestic programs and an even bigger boost in the Pentagon’s budget, while the House GOP budget promises sharp cuts to Medicaid and a dramatic overhaul of Medicare for future beneficiaries.
    Remember what Grover Norquist said about what electing Romney would be all about?

    All we have to do is replace Obama. …We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. … We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don’t need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate.
    This is the kind of leadership he was talking about. What they want out of this election is a Senate that will go along with this nonsense and a president who will sign it.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Arizona cuts off Planned Parenthood aid
    By Steve Benen – Mon May 7, 2012 9:56 AM EDT.

    Republicans appear to be increasingly annoyed by talk of the GOP’s “war on women,” as evidenced by John Boehner’s recent tirade on the House floor. To hear them tell it, the very idea is trumped-up “fiction,” based on bogus misconceptions cooked up by Democrats and sympathetic reporters.

    And yet, when it comes to public policy, the larger trajectory is hard to miss. Take Republicans in Arizona, for example.

    Last month, Gov. Jan Brewer (R), under the auspices of “protecting” women, signed a measure banning most abortions in the state after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and requiring a state-mandated, medically-unnecessary ultrasound 24 hours before the procedure. Late Friday afternoon, Brewer went even further.

    Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on Friday signed into law a bill banning abortion providers like Planned Parenthood from receiving money through the state, her office said in a statement.

    The Republican-backed Whole Woman’s Health Funding Priority Act cuts off funding for family planning and health services delivered by Planned Parenthood clinics and other organizations offering abortions.

    “By signing this measure into law I stand with the majority of Americans who oppose the use of taxpayer funds for abortion,” Brewer said in a statement.

    The problem with Brewer’s statement is that it’s not true — taxpayer funding of abortion was already prohibited before this law was signed. Arizona hasn’t provided any public funds to terminate any pregnancies.

    Rather, what the governor and GOP policymakers in Arizona have done is cut off funding for contraception, cancer screenings, and basic preventive health care for families who are already struggling.

    The next time someone says the Republican war on women is nothing more than media-driven hype, a myth trumped up by Democrats in an election year, remember it wasn’t Dems or journalists who made this proposal law in the state of Arizona.

  36. rikyrah says:

    MERCER: Michelle Obama’s battle against fat
    Few things rattle Obama haters more than first lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to reduce childhood obesity.

    For some conservative pundits, any government effort to encourage Americans to eat less and move more is an attack on personal freedom. They fulminate on the nanny state, busybodies and food police, as in, how dare they tell me to put down my salty-fatty-sugary treat and go for a walk?

    They especially resent the first lady’s “Let’s Move!” initiative.

    Perhaps that’s because unlike most people in Washington, she gets things done.

    Mrs. Obama announced last fall that the parent company of Olive Garden and Red Lobster agreed to add healthier choices for children by July and to reduce sodium and fat 10 percent in five years and 20 percent over 10 years. Darden Restaurants is the country’s largest full-service restaurant chain, serving 400 million meals a year.

    She also persuaded retail giant Walmart to reformulate thousands of packaged foods by 2015, reducing sodium 25 percent and added sugars by 10 percent, and by removing remaining trans fats. Walmart also agreed to reduce the cost of fruits and vegetables.

    If the planet’s biggest retailer demands packaged food with lower sodium and sugar, producers will comply. We all might benefit.

    Life is about to get a lot more annoying for the French-fries-are-my-friend crowd. More companies are charging penalties or higher insurance rates for employees who smoke and are overweight. About 40 percent of medium-sized and large companies reportedly plan to start charging penalties this year.

  37. rikyrah says:

    from the latest polling, found this tweet:

    So #Politico accomplished a Mitt 11 Point Swing This Way: (1) Reducded mInority voting turnout from 26% to 19%, (2) 48% Evangelical Dem samp

    • Ametia says:

      THIS IS COMPLETE & UTTER BULLSHIT. These MOFOs are trying to set the stage for VOTER SUPPRESSION. Mitt Romney ain’t got shit to offer REAL Americans.


  38. Ametia says:

    Here we go. the madness continues

    Elizabeth Warren: Can a liberal champion win over the center in Massachusetts?
    By Karen Tumulty, Published: May 6

    LAWRENCE, Mass. — There was a time in this country when “class warfare” was more than an epithet politicians hurled at each other. That is one reason the Everett Mills was a place where Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren had no trouble bringing a crowd to its feet.

    She was standing Friday morning on the site where, 100 years ago, immigrant textile workers launched a bloody two-month walkout that became famous as the Bread and Roses strike. Middle-class Americans again have had enough, Warren said, with a system that in the 21st century is stacked against them in favor of Wall Street and its political allies.

  39. rikyrah says:

    The Heartland Institute’s change of heart
    By Steve Benen – Mon May 7, 2012 9:21 AM EDT.

    The Heartland Institute clearly thought it had come up with a clever idea. The right-wing group, which is fiercely opposed to combating the climate crisis, thought it’d be clever to put up billboards showing “some of the world’s most notorious killers,” including “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, who accept climate science.

    The idea, apparently, was to push a child-like logical fallacy: if a killer believes in scientific evidence, you shouldn’t. Of course, by that logic, if a killer believes 2 + 2 = 4, the conservative organization would presumably encourage you to reconsider arithmetic.

    The Heartland Institute’s stunt certainly generated attention, but nearly all of it was from those marveling at how ridiculous the group has become. Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), a conservative climate-change denier, said he no longer wanted to participate in the group’s upcoming conference.

    It wasn’t long before the humiliated Heartland Institute decided to reverse course.

    It seems that the ad campaign, sponsored by the conservative Heartland Institute, had bombed.

    “We know that our billboard angered and disappointed many of Heartland’s friends and supporters, but we hope they understand what we were trying to do with this experiment,” the institute said late Friday afternoon said in a statement. “We do not apologize for running the ad, and we will continue to experiment with ways to communicate the ‘realist’ message on the climate.”

  40. rikyrah says:

    Sunday, May 6, 2012
    Last Call
    Posted by Zandar
    As widely expected, French Socialist Party candidate Francois Hollande has beaten French President Nicholas Sarkozy for his job.

    Hollande received 52 percent of the vote to the 48 percent garnered by the conservative Sarkozy, who conceded to his opponent an hour after projected results were in.

    The outcome makes Hollande the first candidate from the country’s Socialist Party to become president in France since 1988. It also makes Sarkozy the first president to not get re-elected to a second term in France since Valery Giscard d’Estaing in 1981.

    Sarkozy, who was rumored by local channel France 24 as leaving politics altogether after the result, told his audience that he would not spearhead his conservative party into June’s parliamentary elections.

    “Stay together, we must win the battle of the legislatives,” he said while reading a draft of his concession speech to senior party officials. “I will not lead that campaign.”

    The big winner here is ultra right-wing nutjob and unapologetic racist Marine La Pen of the National Front party. With Sarkozy’s center-right party leaderless and in tatters, Le Pen plans to swoop in as the face of the opposition to Hollande, and her main goal is to drive France further to the right. Sound familiar? It worked for the Tea Party here in 2010, after all.

    But the big difference between Le Pen’s blithely casual racists and our own is she doesn’t have the backing of hundreds of millions of dollars, and Le Pen’s clowns will blow up the second they have to govern. Here in the US, the GOP was only saved from that particular fate by Citizens United and FOX News.

    We’ll see how this goes down

  41. rikyrah says:

    Monday, May 7, 2012
    Dressed To The Nines
    Posted by Zandar

    The New York Times figures the entire presidential campaign will come down to nine of the states the President won in 2008 that are up for grabs in 2012.

    The nine — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin — offer both parties reasons for hope, and concern. It is no coincidence that Mr. Obama chose two of them, Ohio and Virginia, to hold his first official re-election rallies on Saturday.

    “This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class,” Mr. Obama said at Ohio State University in Columbus.

    While the performance of the national economy will help shape the mood of the country and set the tone of each campaign, the situation on the ground in each of the nine states could be pivotal as well.
    It would be hard to argue that these states are better off now than they were four years ago, given that they have yet to recover the jobs they lost. Often, that makes a compelling argument for a challenger trying to unseat an incumbent.

    But political scientists have found that past elections have been more influenced by the changes in the economy in the year or two before the election. And a range of economic data provided by Moody’s Analytics shows that all nine states are rebounding and that most now have unemployment rates below the national average. If voters in those states begin to feel the improvement by the fall and the economy does not take a turn for the worse, it could aid the president’s efforts to hold on to enough of them to win.

    Seems to me that the Times is making the case this race is wide open. It’s not. The Real Clear Politics averages map shows right now President Obama needing only a couple of tossup states, or really just one: Ohio or Florida, to win outright with a 253-171 lead of Mitt Romney. Romney would have to win at least 7 of 9 tossups in this scenario and cannot lose either Ohio or Florida or it’s over. In other words, the reality here is that Romney has a major uphill battle right now.

    But the Times model ignores North Carolina, another state that went for President Obama (barely) and doesn’t mention it as a toss-up. It also takes Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Nevada out of President Obama’s column, and ignores perennial swing state Missouri which barely went for McCain. If we make those changes and keep NC for Obama and give Missouri to Romney, it’s still a 232-180 race, but Romney has more options, and in that scenario Pennsylvania and Florida become far more important than Ohio. It’s still tough for Romney to win, but not nearly as tough as the truth.

    In other words, the Times is selling you a horse race where Romney remains extremely competitive. Our liberal media, folks.

  42. rikyrah says:

    ABC News, Univision To Create Cable Channel For Hispanics

    ABC News and Univision announced on Monday that they will team up to create an English-language cable channel for Hispanics. “Our powerful premier news brand, combined with the world’s leading Hispanic media company, will create the nation’s first news and lifestyle channel targeted to this quickly expanding and important community,” said Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television Group.

    Univision Networks President Cesar Conde said in the release: “This alliance combines the expertise and brand strength of Univision News with ABC News’ leadership and is another example of Univision’s commitment to serving and empowering Hispanic America while connecting all audiences to Latino issues.”

    The talks were first reported in February by the Wall Street Journal.

  43. rikyrah says:

    Obama campaign set to attack Romney’s aura of competence: As I’ve noted before, it could be dangerous for Obama if Romney clears a basic competence threshold — if voters accept that Romney’s turnaround-whiz background has given him the tools to turn a whole country around — and according to Mark Halperin, Obama’s campaign advisers see undermining this aura of competence as job one:

    Their research suggests Romney has exactly one rhetorical path to victory, as a can-do businessman able to fix what’s broken. Chicago intends to focus as much of its formidable firepower as necessary to dismantle Romney on that front, and prevent the election from becoming a referendum on the President’s economic tenure.

  44. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 08:54 AM ET, 05/07/2012
    The Morning Plum:
    Will Americans take long view of Obama presidency?
    By Greg Sargent

    Watch the new Obama campaign ad touting his record that’s set to air in nine swing states, and you’ll notice something interesting: At least 15 seconds of the 60-second spot — one fourth of it — dramatizes events that took place before he took office.

    That 15 seconds paints a very lurid picture of the magnitude of the economic mess Obama inherited. It’s another reminder that the election will turn on whether Americans take the long view of this presidency — or whether Mitt Romney can succeed in getting Americans to develop mass amnesia about the depth of the crisis in 2008 and 2009, and to vote solely out of impatience with the pace of the recovery:

    Note the chart showing 26 straight months of job creation. This graphic will be central to the Obama campaign’s hopes of rebutting Romney’s ongoing claim that the “net” job loss on Obama’s watch shows he failed. Or, as David Axelrod told ABC News, the memory of where the country has been is central to the case for what Obama has accomplished.

    Also: The spot again touts the killing of Bin Laden, with a nod to the “heroes” who did the actual killing, a sign Obama will continue making it central to his case for reelection despite charges of politicization.

  45. rikyrah says:

    House GOP To Shift Defense Cuts To Poverty Programs
    Sahil Kapur- May 7, 2012, 5:44 AM

    Congress returns from recess this week, House Republicans are set to advance legislation to replace automatic defense spending cuts they agreed to last year with cuts to programs for the poor and working class. The controversial measure is expected to pass the House and die in the Senate, making it largely a political exercise that allows the two parties to contrast the values at the heart of the 2012 election: Should the burden for addressing the country’s long-running fiscal challenges fall to struggling people, or to the wealthiest people in the country?

    The proposal — which is an outgrowth of the budget the House GOP overwhelmingly voted for late March — would cut some $261 billion from health care programs, food stamps, unemployment benefits and child tax credits, among others. It constitutes a violation of the GOP’s end of the debt-limit deal, which included painful sacrifices for both parties if the Congress failed to reach a bipartisan deficit-reduction agreement.

    The measure would override the $78 billion in defense cuts set take effect January 2013 as a backstop in last August’s debt limit law. Additional cuts are in place for the following nine years. President Obama and Democrats aren’t happy with the so-called “sequestration” cuts either, but they insist they won’t roll them back unless Republicans agree to a balanced deal that combines spending cuts with new revenues taken from wealthy Americans, the latter of which Republicans have blocked for years.

    The measure reflects a GOP effort to go to bat for the defense industry in an election year. It also helps them pin the blame for inaction on Democrats, who control the more closely divided Senate.

    “Intended as a mechanism to force action, there is bipartisan agreement that the sequester going into place would undercut key responsibilities of the federal government,” reads a recent House GOP leadership memo on the reconciliation bill.

    Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), the top Democrat on the Budget Committee, released a report highlighting the ways the GOP bill would exacerbate poverty. “Next week Democrats will continue to draw a strong contrast between the lopsided Republican plan to protect tax breaks for powerful special interests at the expense of the rest of America,” he said last Thursday. In February, 127 House Dems wrote a letter to Obama saying the military cuts are part of the solution to deficit reduction and should be kept in place.

    Unless Republicans drop their anti-tax absolutism, Congress isn’t likely to reach an agreement on replacing the defense cuts at least until after the election.

  46. rikyrah says:

    Ron Paul backers make GOP’s lives more complicated
    By Steve Benen – Mon May 7, 2012 8:42 AM EDT.

    Why is this man smiling?
    If 90% of life is just showing up, Ron Paul supporters have discovered the secret of success at state Republican Party gatherings.

    Last week, the Republican National Committee issued a stern warning to the state party in Nevada: if you allow Paul backers to take many slots for the national convention, the party might just refuse to seat the state’s entire delegation as punishment.

    How’d that work out? Based on previous vote totals, Nevada Republicans were supposed to give Mitt Romney 20 of the state’s 28 delegates. That’s not what happened.

    Despite former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s overwhelming victory in the Nevada caucuses, Texas Rep. Ron Paul has won a majority of the state’s delegates to the party’s national convention later this year in Tampa, Florida.

    Thanks to organized Paul supporters, who have been working to increase their candidate’s support at state conventions around the country, 22 of the 25 Nevada delegates up for grabs will be Paul supporters. (Another three are automatic delegates.) […]

    “The Paul folks couldn’t get their people turned out for the caucus,” said veteran Nevada political columnist Jon Ralston. “But they outmaneuvered the Nevada Romney people ever since and dominated the county conventions and this is the inevitable result. The question remains: To what end?”

  47. Ametia says:


  48. dannie22 says:

    Hello everyone!!

  49. Ametia says:

    The BP Oil Spill Photos You Weren’t Supposed to See

    It’s been two years since the Deepwater Horizon disaster unleashed 4.9 million barrels of oil on the Gulf of Mexico. In the midst of the spill, BP and its contractors did everything they could to keep people from seeing its scale. But new photos released Monday offer some new insight to just how bad it was for sea life.

    The images were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act Request that Greenpeace filed back in August 2010. Now, nearly two years later, they received a response from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that included more than 100 photos from the spill, including many of critically endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles dead and covered in oil.

    They’re pretty shocking—which is probably why they weren’t made public at the height of the spill. Click here to see some of the photos that have been kept under wraps. [READ MORE]

  50. rikyrah says:

    um, WHITE WOMEN are counted as a MINORITY….HENCE, them being the biggest beneficiaries of AFFIRMATIVE ACTION.


    MA GOP Calls For Harvard Investigation Of Warren’s Minority Status

    The Chair of the Massachusetts Republican Party Bob Maginn sent a letter to the president of Harvard asking for an investigation into Elizabeth Warren’s minority status at the university. The MA GOP and Scott Brown’s campaign have been attacking Warren for being listed as a minority because her great, great, great grandmother was Cherokee. The letter alleges “academic fraud” on Warren’s part by Harvard’s own standards of “academic honesty in the law school’s statement of community principles.” At the end, the letter touches on whether Warren received any special treatment or “advantages” because of her minority status.

    The letter concludes: “Harvard must investigate Ms. Warren’s false claims to be a minority; how it came to pass that Harvard accepted these claims; and the extent to which Ms. Warren’s alleged minority status afforded her advantages to which she would not otherwise have been entitled.”

  51. rikyrah says:

    7:25 AM EDT, Monday May 7, 2012
    Gallup Swing State Poll: Obama By 2, GOP Enthusiasm Wanes

    A new poll from Gallup that surveyed 951 registered voters in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin show President Obama with a small advantage, 47 – 45, over former Massachusetts Gov. and likely Republcian nominee Mitt Romney. Gallup pointed to an enthusiasm gap for Romney in swing states:

    While Obama edges out Romney by two points in the overall preferences of swing-state registered voters, he has a four-point advantage with respect to solid supporters: 36% of swing-state voters say they are certain they will vote for Obama in November, while 32% are certain they will vote for Romney. Each candidate’s remaining supporters – the 11% who favor Obama and the 13% favoring Romney – say there is a chance they could change their mind between now and the election. An additional 7% of voters are undecided, meaning a total of 31% of swing-state voters are not firmly committed at this time.

    Obama’s swing-state prospects also look a bit brighter than Romney’s on the basis of voter enthusiasm. More than half of Obama’s supporters, 55%, are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting in this year’s presidential election, up from 49% saying this in March. By contrast, 46% of Romney’s supporters are extremely or very enthusiastic, unchanged from 47% in March. Today’s figures reflect a reversal from January, when 55% of Romney voters were extremely or very enthusiastic, compared with 50% of Obama voters

  52. rikyrah says:

    Not Just The Economy: Polls Show Obama’s Swing State Strength (CHART)
    Kyle Leighton May 7, 2012, 6:17 AM 1494

    President Obama’s first three and a half years in office have been fraught with economic stagnation unseen for decades. The signature achievement from his first term, health care reform, remains unpopular with the American people (although before it’s been fully implemented). And his approval rating, while even over the last two months, was underwater for most of 2011.

    Yet last week, Quinnipiac University released three polls showing Obama ahead in two major swing states, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and trailing by a single point to former Massachusetts Gov. and likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney in Florida. Why?

    “This is an election about more than the economy — it’s about leadership,” Michael Dimock, associate director of research for the Pew Research Center told TPM. “While he’s [President Obama] been a divisive president, he has built up a certain amount of public trust. Romney is still unknown to many people, and what people have heard hasn’t been particularly positive.”

    The Quinnipiac numbers revealed an interesting trend — in Florida, when pollsters asked voters who would be better on the economy, Romney had a nine point edge. In the general election match up, he bested Obama by a single point. In Ohio, Romney only had a four point lead on who was better to handle the nation’s economy, which wasn’t enough to get by Obama in the state, who had a two point advantage overall. And in Pennsylvania, Obama had a one point lead on the economy, which turned into a healthy eight percent margin in the head-to-head.

  53. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    May 06, 2012 8:50 AM
    Why the Optics Matter

    By Jesse Singal

    After Obama’s address at Ohio State yesterday, we’re not off to a good start in terms of having a substantive presidential campaign, are we?

    On Twitter on Saturday, campaign operatives jousted over the visuals of the Ohio rally.

    “View from floor during @BarackObama speech. Not the “overflow” crowd he promised,” tweeted Romney spokesman Ryan Williams.

    Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse fired back with a photo of Romney’s February economic speech in Detroit, where 1,200 people turned out for an event in a stadium that seats 65,000.

    On the one hand, it’s all a bit excruciating. On the other, it’s a telling sign of the GOP strategy: Argue that Obama’s magic is gone, that his glory days are over. He’s just another politician now. Cut him down to size: That’s how the GOP plans on competing against an incumbent who is a lot more likable than their guy.

  54. rikyrah says:

    May 06, 2012 1:45 PM
    Are Young Voters Less Enthusiastic This Time Around—and Will It Matter?

    By Jesse Singal

    There’s a fair amount worth unpacking in Mark McKinnon’s piece on Obama’s struggles with the declining enthusiasm of young voters. But I think this part is key:

    President Obama is in trouble. Just 50 percent of college-age youth approve of his performance overall; that’s 5 points less than their 25-to-29-year-old peers. While that general measure is trending upward from a low point in December 2011, just 39 percent of the younger millennials approve of his handling of the economy. And only 43 percent think Obama will win reelection, with 29 percent thinking he will lose and 28 percent unsure.

    Finally, in a head-to-head matchup with Romney, Obama wins only 41 percent support, a significant drop from actual votes from this group in 2008.

    But the picture isn’t bright for Mitt Romney, either.

    “Although this generation is not as supportive of President Obama and Democrats as they may have been in the historic 2008 campaign, this in no way implies that the Republican Party has successfully captured the hearts, minds, and votes of millennials,” says Harvard Institute of Politics polling director John Della Volpe.

    In direct competition with the president, Romney wins only 29 percent support. That’s less than what Ron Paul would win against Obama in an imaginary matchup and less than the poll support John McCain won from young millennials in the spring-2008 survey. And when Romney’s supporters were asked if they would volunteer for his campaign, less than a third said they would engage versus more than half of Obama’s supporters.

    Young people aren’t going to come around to Mitt Romney. Not in any great numbers. So the important question is whether or not they will feel energized to come out for Obama. As far as the GOP is concerned, a lot of young people staying home on Election Day would constitute a victory on this front.

    It’s also worth pointing out that the importance of young voters is a bit overrated, sometimes, and might not matter as much as people think unless the election is close. 2008 wasn’t close, and in the wake of Obama’s victory one pollster “re-ran the numbers as if there were no voters under 30, [and found that] the only states that would switch to Republican presidential candidate John McCain are Indiana and North Carolina.” That is, Obama still would have won.

    That said, what doesn’t show up in this sort of analysis are the countless hours young people poured into volunteering for the campaign in 2008. There’s not going to be anywhere near the same volunteer enthusiasm this time around.

    • Ametia says:

      I see Morning Murdering has on the hack Mark McKinnon and a glaring banner Obama is in trouble with youth. SMGDH. Do we need to tweet that jackass the visuals from this weekend’s rally?

  55. rikyrah says:

    May 04, 2012
    More on the Mann-Ornstein bombshell

    The Times’ Timothy Egan goes one essential step farther (in emphasis) than Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein:

    [T]hese people in Congress, and this mess, are the voters’ fault. We put Democrats in control in 2008, and they’d no sooner started to govern when we put Republicans in charge….

    At least in 2010, the insurgents were an unknown commodity, produced by the faux populism of talk radio and the Tea Party. If this majority is voted back in, we’ll have nobody to blame but ourselves for a democracy that, at this moment, no longer has the will to self-govern.

    “The voters” are an amorphous goo that can be shaped for discussion in many ways, but for the moment let us put it this way: In an engaged, informed democracy, Citizens United and Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and the Koch Brothers etc. etc. would not be the bogeymen they are, because so few would be paying them any serious notice. “Faux populism” would still exist–the political fringe will always be with us–but David, Charles & Friends wouldn’t be pouring billions of dollars into a rathole of cranks and crackpots, if the vast non-crank, non-crackpot population bothered to engage.

    But let’s give credit to the faux populists of the unartificial right: at least they engage their transcendent crankology and delusional crackpottism at the voting booth. As to the left’s activist populists, whose activism by virtually all accounts reflects more closely the common, real-life concerns of The Everyman? They’ve done, and continue to do, what the galvanized left loves to do most: march, protest, carry banners, shout slogans and denounce “the system”–all of the system, including those who are systemically trying to help.

    OK, so there’s nothing wrong with marching and protesting. But a far better method would be to postpone perambulations of Wall Street and instead march down the residential sidewalks of Main Street and then up to front doors for some enlightening engagement with non-voters who permit the tyranny of crankology to dominate at the polls. And in swing states and swing districts, which is another way of saying fundamentally conservative regions? These require the left to swallow hard and to momentarily forget the cosmic tragedy of a bygone “public option” and to mobilize on behalf of centrist candidates; Dennis Kucinich-doppelgangers just ain’t gonna cut it in Arkansas.

    The problem with Egan’s argument is that “faux populism” isn’t “faux” if it outmatches the opposition in active numbers, motivation and mobilization. On a rational plane, its political objectives may be “faux” in the sense of unworkable delusions, but delusional thought has dominated revolutionary systems for centuries–and the manifestations of that thought have been viciously real. Yet “the voters” cannot stop the madness; this isn’t their fault, as Egan further charges. Only non-voters, converted to voters, can do that. And in terms of motivating and mobilizing their own friendly numbers, the activist left is blowing it.

  56. rikyrah says:

    May 05, 2012
    George Will’s frenzy

    Now here, from George Will, is some really frightening stuff–the stuff that Orwellian nightmares are made of, that our Founders risked their lives to forfend, that only jackbooted Trotskyites would defend. “[W]hen next you hear histrionic warnings about tea party or other conservative ‘extremism,’ try to think of anything on the right comparable to [Democratic Rep. Jim] McGovern’s proposed vandalism of the Bill of Rights,” which, asserts Will (based on the legal opinion of one conservative scholar), “would mow down the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, as well as the First.”

    Oh my God. We knew it. We just knew it. Allen West was right. There really are 81 communists posing as Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives (make that 82, because one of the vandals is a Republican). And just what is the specific target of their nefarious scheme to annihilate free speech and, as Will further frames it, “regulate religious practices at most houses of worship, conduct whatever searches it wants, reasonable or not, of corporate entities, and seize corporate-owned property”? You guessed it: the liberty-flowering splendor of Citizens United.

    And here (pdf) is the nefarious scheme itself, in the form of a proposed Constitutional Amendment:

    SECTION 1. We the people who ordain and establish this Constitution intend the rights protected by this Constitution to be the rights of natural persons. SECTION 2. The words people, person, or citizen as used in this Constitution do not include corporations, limited liability companies or other corporate entities established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state, and such corporate entities are subject to such regulation as the people, through their elected State and Federal representatives, deem reasonable and are otherwise consistent with the powers of Congress and the States under this Constitution. SECTION 3. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to limit the people’s rights of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, free exercise of religion, freedom of association and all such other rights of the people, which rights are inalienable.

    In short, be it known that corporations aren’t people, hence government may regulate their activities, which includes the toxic dumping of hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars into The People’s political contests.

    It’s a long, circuitous and tortured intellectual path from this proposed Amendment’s wording to George Will’s absolute frenzy. But he pulls he off nicely, don’t you think?

  57. rikyrah says:

    How Bad is Boehner at His Job?

    by BooMan
    Sun May 6th, 2012 at 08:04:58 PM EST

    This is a serious question. The Hill lists nine things that Congress needs to do before the election to avoid bad to catastrophic stuff from happening. Things like keeping the Post Office running and the Import-Export Bank from failing and preventing student loan interest rates from doubling and funding our highways. How many of those nine things do you think John Boehner will actually be able to handle?

  58. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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